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Forget his age, Marcus already has immense quality: Jose

 

By Simon Peach

Jose Mourinho hailed the quality and maturity of Marcus Rashford after the teenager handed Manchester United the upper hand in their Europa League semi-final tie with Celta Vigo.

Rashford's fine free-kick secured a 1-0 first-leg win at Celta and the away goal could prove crucial ahead of next week's return fixture at Old Trafford, where the Spanish side now face an uphill battle.

"He's a 19-year-old kid in love with football," said United boss Mourinho.

"A kid that finishes a training session, who stays half an hour more to take free-kicks. He waits for the opportunity so it's his mentality. He works, he works, he works.

"He's very mature and let's forget the age because it's not the age, it's the quality."

Rashford made way for Anthony Martial with 10 minutes of the first-leg tie remaining, but boss Mourinho has played down any fitness concerns.

"He started the game already with a little problem and obviously with the running he was feeling it and Martial was fresh," the Portuguese added.

Manchester United, England's last European representatives, have travelled far and wide in their bid to win the only major continental trophy to have eluded them in their success-laden history.

And Mourinho thinks they can progress to the May 24 final at the Friends Arena in Stockholm.

"I'm very pleased with the performance, not so pleased with the result," he said.

"At half-time it should be, I don't want to say three but two (goals) and the result is open and I think we played enough to have the result closed.

"I think we played really well. It was a good performance.

"That match at Old Trafford, let's hope that Old Trafford wants us to win because when Old Trafford wants us to win, we win. So let's hope that they want it."

Meanwhile, former United star Michael Owen claimed the Red Devils players prefer to play with Rashford than Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

And Owen believes United are better with the teenager than with Ibrahimovic.

"I think if you ask his team-mates, they would probably prefer to play with Rashford up-front," he said.

"He gives them more options even though Zlatan will always score a few more than Rashford if they started every week."

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